June 27, 2013
Throughout this latest winning stretch, Tribe starters have pitched very well, with Kluber one of the main cogs. It was Kluber's eight strong innings in Texas that ended the eight-game losing streak, and he followed that up with eight shutout innings against Washington. Since then, however, he's been human. In his last start, he allowed eight hits and only struck out 4 in 5.2 innings against Minnesota, although he only allowed three runs. And tonight, for the first time in six weeks, he had a truly bad outing.
For four innings, Kluber somehow kept his head above water. He allowed hits to the first two batters of the game, but a double play defused that threat. He didn't escape the second inning unscathed, though, as the Orioles scored twice on Ryan Flaherty's two-out single. He gave up a leadoff double to Chris Davis in the fourth inning, but left him there. But the Orioles finally were able to land the knockout blow in the fifth inning. The Orioles once again got their leadoff hitter on base, with Ryan Flaherty singling, and followed that up with a Nate McLouth single. Kluber struck out young phenom Manny Machado on a disputed call, and soon afterwards Machado was tossed by the home plate umpire. From the video it didn't appear that Machado did a whole lot, but must have said one of the magic words. But that strikeout didn't stem the Oriole rally, as two more singles and fielder's choice drove in two more runs, making the score 5-2. A Matt Wieters double plated Baltimore's sixth run, then Kluber's evening ended when JJ Hardy hit a swinging bunt that Kluber kicked into foul territory.
Kluber wasn't going to either get Hardy or the runner heading towards home, so the play was scored a base hit rather than an error, but that final play did symbolize the evening. The Indians made two errors on the evening, both happening earlier that inning.
Before Kluber's five-run implosion, the game had been the Lonnie Chisenhall Show. The Tribe third baseman hit his first home run since his recall in the second inning, a blast that left Camden Yards entirely, and followed that up with an RBI double that hit off the wall in right. This is the first real power we've seen from Lonnie since his return from Columbus, and hopefully marks an important step in his maturation as a hitter.
Unfortunately those two Chisenhall blasts were about the only offensive highlights of the evening. The Indians got nine hits off Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez, but they also struck out nine times. Mike Aviles' home run in the top of the fifth gave the Indians a temporary 3-2 lead, and would be the last Tribe run scored.
But all in all, splitting the four-game series in Baltimore was a pretty good outcome. The Indians are now done with AL East road trips (thank goodness), and they head to Chicago only 2.5 games behind Detroit.
Roll Call (29 Commenters)
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